What Systems Keep You Effective?, (Sat, Jun 9th)

What Systems Keep You Effective?, (Sat, Jun 9th):

Previously I discussed What’s On Your Not To Do List as a means to remain focused on priorities. I never fear running out of work in cybersecurity. Instead, I worry that our focus does not always stay on the most critical issues. Today I want to highlight several techniques I use to help remain effective.

Saying no

    Over and over again

    No can be a complete sentence

    Opportunity cost associated with time spent on other items

Calendar Margin

    Create space for unexpected tasks

    Make appointments for what matters most    

Goal tracking system

    As an achiever, I enjoy checking items off my “to do” list

    Evernote as a repository to hold ideas for future research

    Keep from cluttering up my brain

A physical planner

    Found tremendous value in weekly reviews

    Focus on what I accomplished

    And what needs even more focus

Each of these tactics serves to help keep me focused on what matters most. What hacks do you use to stay effective throughout your busy day? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Russell Eubanks

ISC Handler

SANS Instructor

@russelleubanks

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

(Via SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green)

Other than the use of Evernote (I of course use Emacs & Org mode), I do or intend to do all of this listed here. I like the “Calendar Margin” as something I am accidentally doing and could probably improve. 

Don’t Neglect Tampons

I visited an AT&T emergency response validation testing session several years ago. After Hurricane Katrina they were able to start restoring service as soon as the area was considered safe enough for their people to enter.

What makes this possible for such teams? Training. Equipment. Food. Water. Most people will flag those.

What about toilet paper? And washing machines for what the teams wear under the protection gear? And sunscreen for when they finally get out from under the protective gear? And tampons? And several hundred other taken-for-granted details that become huge and potentially life threatening in their absence while standing in a toxic soup of stagnant storm water who-knows-what infused trying to restore basic communications for emergency responders.

When working on disaster recovery or an emergency response plan, don’t draft it in isolation. Benefit from other’s learning and iterations (lessons learned). It’s much better to prepare for something with a shopping list than a blank piece of paper. This is not an area where non disclosure is good for anyone.

This is true in the command center as well. How can efficient effective direction & information get communicated when key people don’t have access to their insulin or blood pressure medication? How do you manage your technical expert’s dairy problem while all the food you have access to is a vending machine full of chocolate bars?

Which assumes the machines will be full. What if it’s the day before restock? What if the restocking person broke up with their significant other or was high or was distracted? Are humans part of your calculation?

Granted, squirrelling away prescription medication isn’t easy (& maybe illegal where you are) but knowing the challenge exists before it’s a problem is the first step to solving it. Other things, like stockpiling daily-free & gluten-free food, tampons, tissues, toilet paper, and everything else identified from other’s work and your own tabletop exercises is relatively easy to manage.

And you? What are your thoughts?